Here’s What Job Titles Will Look Like In The Future

In analyzing how demand for technological know-how is changing across a variety of functional roles, we found a new language of recruiting. Read this report to find out how employers have higher technical requirements in nearly all functions – and how job titles are changing to reflect this new reality.

For this report, we wanted to take a look at how jobs have changed over the past several years, and specifically how technology played a role in changing jobs over time. Our research was prompted by conversations with several of our employer partners, who mentioned they have an increasing need for technical skills in roles that didn’t traditionally require technical expertise. A recurring theme in these conversations was the desire to understand and prepare for these sorts of changes in hiring needs, and they’ve asked us for insight on what jobs should look like in the future, given technological advances. This report is designed to help shed light on this changing part of the talent acquisition landscape.

Methodology 

We’ve sought out to answer this question by analyzing data from our TransparentCareer platform, which gathers granular career and salary data from college graduates throughout their career transitions. As a first step, our data team pulled a random subset of jobs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 from the database, analyzed job titles, descriptions and other details, and tagged each job as either “technical” or “non-technical”. A technical job was one that required either digital-savvy skills (coding languages, software suites, etc.) or strategic mindset influenced by digital experience. We then used these job title keywords to classify the remainder of the database, and analyzed how technical requirements have changed from 2016 to 2018. We also analyzed the jobs by function – accounting, engineering, finance, HR, etc. – so that we could understand how the proportion of functional roles within the total job market has changed over the past few years.

Some notes on the data set and analysis: the overwhelming majority of candidates who entered employment data used in this report went on to enroll in graduate business school in the United States (these are the primary users of TransparentCareer, the platform that gathered the data used in this report). Thus, while the group is quite diverse in terms of demographics, the analysis here was performed with the caveat that the trends displayed in this candidate pool are not an exact reflection of the broader job market for all candidates. Thus, some of the changes in functional demand or job title keywords could be over- or under-stated in some cases. The analysis also only took into data provided for the years 2016-2018, as these were the years where the most data was available. Again, this could lead to some divergence between our analysis of this data set and one that looked at a larger data set over a longer period of time. 

Having established those caveats, the findings in this report should still be valuable for employers looking to understand changes in both the broader job market, as well as those who are interested in the subset of highly-qualified candidates whose data was analyzed here. Moreover, the trends highlighted here do align with other research on the same topic, and they represent substantive changes that are taking place across the entire talent pool.

Changes in Functional Role Demand

What we found was that functional roles could be grouped into three primary categories in terms of the percentage of total jobs associated with that function within the total job pool: Shrinking, Stable, or Growing. We analyzed 18 different functions for this report, and they are categorized by growth rate below:

Growing:

  • Corporate Strategy (+14%)
  • General Management (+18%)
  • Marketing (+18%)
  • Product Management (+17%)
  • Project Management (+16%)
  • Venture Capital (+48%)

Stable:

  • Analytics and Data Science (-0.05%)
  • Consulting (-1.7%)
  • Corporate Finance (+3.2%)
  • Operations (+3.2%)

Shrinking:

  • Accounting (-24%)
  • Business Development (-11%)
  • Human Resources (-65%)
  • Information Technology (-13%)
  • Investment Banking (-33%)
  • Investment Management (-18%)
  • Private Equity (-25%)
  • Sales (-26%)

What explains the changing fortunes of these functional roles? Each has its own story, with some of the explanations well known – like the struggles of the investment banking industry to return to the heights of the early 2000’s – and others perhaps less obvious. But many of these functions are undergoing major changes in how they use and depend on technology, a fact which is clearly a boon to some – see product management – and a bust for others – see accounting and HR. In order to understand each function’s evolving relationship with technology, we next wanted to analyze how the technical requirements for jobs within each function have changed over the course of the same 2016-2018 time period.


Many of these functions are undergoing major changes in how they use and depend on technology, a fact which is clearly a boon to some – see product management – and a bust for others – see accounting and HR.


Growth in Demand for Technical Skills 

What we found was an increasingly tech-driven or tech-adjacent job market. For the majority of the functional roles we analyzed, there were significant increases in the number of keywords linked to tech roles, regardless of whether demand for that function was growing, stable or shrinking.

Below we’ve again grouped each function by the growth in demand for technical skills, and each function is flagged with asterisks to denote the proportion of technical roles that fell within that function (more asterisks means a function is more traditionally “high-tech”):

More Technical Requirements:

  • Accounting* (+123%)
  • Business Development* (+58%)
  • Consulting* (+20%)
  • Human Resources* (+670%)
  • Marketing* (+26%)
  • Operations* (+63%)
  • Project Management* (+26%)
  • Sales* (+67%)

Similar Technical Requirements:

  • Analytics and Data Science** (+2%)
  • Corporate Finance* (+9%)
  • Corporate Strategy* (+0.05%)
  • General Management* (-8.5%)
  • Product Management** (-2.5%)

Fewer Technical Requirements:

  • Information Technology** (-14.1%)
  • Investment Banking* (-100%)
  • Investment Management* (-48.3%)
  • Private Equity* (-100%)
  • Venture Capital* (-100%)

** = moderate number of technical roles

*  = low number of technical roles

Overall, these results demonstrate broad-based growth in demand for technical abilities in a variety of “low-tech” functions, relative stability in technical demands within traditionally “high-tech” functions, and a somewhat surprising wholesale abandonment of technical requirements in “low-tech” functions related to investing. Given that the bulk of decreases in technical requirements came from such low-tech functions, the overall trend points strongly towards a rapid increase in the technical qualifications required for roles even within functions that aren’t traditionally high-tech.


The overall trend points strongly towards a rapid increase in the technical qualifications required for roles even within functions that aren’t traditionally high-tech.


Job Title Keyword Analysis 

Finally, in order to provide some tangible examples of the growing market for technological know-how, we wanted to share the results of our job title keyword analysis, which correlated phrases and words in job titles with technical requirements within job descriptions. The words with the strongest correlation with a job title’s technical requirements are:

  • Product
  • Technology
  • Strategy
  • Engineer
  • Digital

And a long list of the most common “technical” job titles we encountered in our research:

  • Product Manager
  • Product Marketer
  • Product Strategy
  • Product Operations
  • Digital Product Manager
  • Technology Audit Manager
  • Technology Operations
  • Technology Sales Manager
  • Technology Account Manager
  • Technology Strategy Consultant
  • Digital Strategy Manager
  • Software Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Solutions Engineer
  • Applications Engineer
  • Sales Engineer
  • User Experience Engineer
  • Digital Marketing Consultant
  • Digital Content Manager

In addition to the primary keywords listed above, there were an additional set of secondary keywords (occurring in significantly fewer job titles) that were also correlated with technical requirements within the job description. Those secondary keywords are:

  • Cyber/Cloud/Web
  • Analytics/Data
  • Design
  • System/Software/Application
  • Solutions/Innovation/Transformation

And another list of some of the frequent job titles that included these keywords:

  • Cloud Architect
  • Cloud Infrastructure Manager
  • Cyber Security Consultant
  • Web Designer
  • Data Analytics Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Analytics Consultant
  • Marketing Analytics Manager
  • User Experience Designer
  • Software Developer
  • Applications Consultant
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • Client Solutions Manager
  • Enterprise Solutions Manager
  • Business Transformation Manager
  • Digital Transformation Manager
  • Innovation Director
  • Product Innovation Manager

Many of these job titles did not exist a decade and a half ago, but they are the job titles of the future, where technical requirements for job candidates will only become more prominent, and the employers who are most successful in finding candidates will be the ones who understand the rapid evolution of the job market and know how to speak the new language of tech recruiting.


The employers who are most successful in finding candidates will be the ones who understand the rapid evolution of the job market and know how to speak the new language of tech recruiting.


Conclusion

Our analysis confirmed what we have been hearing anecdotally from employers: job requirements are getting more technical, even in functions that aren’t traditionally high-tech. We were able to see these changes most markedly in the keywords used in job titles held by candidates over the past several years; the incorporation of phrases like “digital,” “cloud,” and “innovation” help signify this new generation of tech-adjacent jobs. Employers can use this data – and the sample job titles provided above – to announce the changing nature of their roles and to attract the next generation of qualified candidates who can meet those tech requirements.

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